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Twitter shows growth despite Apple's privacy changes

The social media company releases its third-quarter earnings.

Twitter has been experimenting with new features. 
Angela Lang/CNET

Twitter's user base grew 13% in the third quarter as it experimented with features to keep people on its platform. But the microblogging site swung to a loss on a one-time litigation charge even as it appeared to weather changes to Apple's mobile operating system that have affected other social media companies.   

Twitter has focused on creator tools, live audio and safety features as it competes with Facebook, TikTok and other major tech companies. The number of monetizable daily active users grew to 211 million in the third quarter. Analysts surveyed by Thomson Reuters expected the company to report 212.6 million daily users in the third quarter.

The focus on user experience comes as Twitter and other social media companies grapple with changes to Apple's mobile operating system that have made it tougher for advertisers to measure their campaigns. The iPhone maker recently rolled out a feature that requires users to give permission to apps that track their online activities. Facebook and Snap have already said the changes have weighed on their performance. Twitter, though, said the impact on its third-quarter revenue and fourth-quarter guidance was lower than expected. 

Twitter reported revenue that was slightly below Wall Street's expectations. In the third quarter, the company posted revenue of $1.28 billion, below expectations of $1.29 billion. 

However, Twitter posted a loss of 54 cents per share because of a $766 million charge related to the settlement of a class-action lawsuit. 

Twitter's earnings come amid heightened scrutiny of social media. Facebook, the world's biggest social media company, is the subject of a series of news stories based on leaked documents that suggest the company knows about the harm its platforms cause to the mental health of teenagers, as well as to democracy and to developing countries. Earlier in the day, a Senate subcommittee grilled executives from Twitter competitors TikTok, YouTube and Snap about the policies those companies have in place to protect children.